September 8, 2010

At a time when the world of sport is being dragged through the dirt for alleged spot-fixing, match fixing, drug taking and cheating it can only be the ‘authorities’ that could make a mockery of sportsmanship.

Rules are there to be adhered to or broken at the whim of governing bodies, tribunals and sports courts but nothing epitomises the contradiction more than today’s ‘judgements’ and punishments, or not as the case may be.

John Higgins, the former World Snooker champion has been found not guilty of match fixing but admits bringing the game into disrepute. After apparently doing nothing illegal he was found guilty of not informing the WPBSA (World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association) of the News of the World’s attempt to corrupt professional snooker… he was banned for six months (backdated to May) and fined £75,000.

However, the Ferrari Formula One team who blatantly broke not only the sports rules but also those of sporting ethics have escaped ‘further’ punishment at the FIA hearing regarding breaking team orders… They were originally fined £65,100 ($100,000) by stewards at the Hockenheim circuit in July.

In a sporting world tarnished by money, drugs and gambling, the News of the World set out to ‘secretly’ test the integrity of John Higgins by bribing him to affect match results but claim that they are only trying to create a “deterrent to any other cheats in sport” while the Ferrari team can openly broke a specific rule that affects a race result while millions watch on.

Betting and sport have always gone hand in glove but it appears that in Formula One, teams can legally decide on race positions and affect the payout of bets.

With the Pakistan cricket team in the spotlight for spot-fixing during the recent Test series against England (again as a result of the News of the World) today’s events leave many questions unanswered.

Who decides if a rule really has been broken? Is it alright to break or flaunt sporting rules if you do it openly? Is it simply that the financial impact of the individual or team on a sport affects the outcome of a hearing?

In this week’s Formula One Grand Prix at Monza what punishment will be handed out if a team choose to deliberately break the rules?

Last updated: September 9, 2010 at 8:59 am